Hands For Life Stamford Sets U.S. CPR Record

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Two participants learn CPR training from Paul Moeller at Hands For Life Stamford 2012.
Two participants learn CPR training from Paul Moeller at Hands For Life Stamford 2012. Photo Credit: Ken Liebeskind

STAMFORD, Conn. – The Rev. Cliff Lee was saved by CPR on July 21, and now other heart attack victims will be saved, thanks to Hands for Life Stamford 2012. The event, held Saturday at Chelsea Piers, broke a U.S. record by training 5,131 participants in a single day, beating the previous record of 4,626 set in Texas in 2009.

The event fell short of beating the world record of 7,909, set by the Singapore Heart Foundation last year.

Tom Nero, a cardiologist at Stamford Hospital and an organizer of the event, said doctors at the hospital came up with the idea a few years ago “to make a bigger difference in cardiac survival. Only one in four victims get CPR when they need it. With outreach and training, we seek to get the number to 60 or 70 percent and double or triple the survival rate.”

Lee, a Stamford resident, was playing racquetball at the Jewish Community Center in town, “when I fell over backward, my head dropped, my eyes rolled back and my heart stopped beating,” he said. “God’s grace kicked in, because another player knew CPR and he saved my life.”

An ambulance was called, but it took 10 minutes to arrive, so the player’s knowledge of CPR was a lifesaver for Lee.

Paul Moeller, an emergency medical technician for Stamford Emergency Medical Services, was one of the trainers who taught CPR to Hands for Life participants.

“It’s hands-only CPR,” he said, “because the American Heart Association eliminated mouth to mouth resuscitation for laymen.”

The hands-only method utilizes compressions to get blood flowing through the body.

“Place your palm on the sternum and your other hand above it and do fast, deep compressions, 110 per minute,” Moeller told participants.

James Koch, a Seymour ambulance line officer, demonstrated the automated external defibrillator (AED), a portable apparatus that sends shocks of electricity to restart the heart. Koch showed participants how to attach the electrodes to a victim’s chest and start the AED.

Jonathon Krackehl, a participant from Norwalk, said, “I did CPR years ago with mouth-to-mouth and wanted to refamiliarize myself. Anyone can spend 15 minutes to save a life, and I don’t want to be powerless in an emergency situation.”

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There must have been more people from Norwalk there. Did you like it? Did you learn something new? Did you find some neat stuff, like I did?

@Paige- The event was one of the best organized public events I've ever attended - from the parking lot volunteers to the shuttle tram drivers to the directional volunteers to the trainers! Outstanding event that I would highly recommend we replicate here in Norwalk. The point of training so many is for people to have the confidence in the most simplest of life-saving techniques - I would have been terrified in the past to attempt any CPR, but now I know from the lesson there that it "is better to break a rib on someone than to stand by and let them die". I'll always remember the 3-C (check, call, compress) technique. By the way, prior to this training I had no idea that it's not unusual to crack ribs when doing chest compressions, and this is good for folks to know so they won't panic and stop the procedure.
The day was a little bittersweet, however, as my husband and I used to work at Clairol, and though Chelsea Piers is an unbelievable venue (words cannot describe, folks simply have to see it for themselves), it was sad to see the old production floors so reconstructed as we could barely get our bearings as to where we were in the original building. In Stamford, everyone either worked at Clairol, or you had a relative or neighbor that did! (Along with Machlett Labs, Norma Fag Bearings, Pitney Bowes, etc).
Chelsea Piers owners were genius to allow the field house to be used, and to direct the flow of visitors to maximize venue viewing - exposing 5000 people on site would have cost a king's ransom in marketing!
I took a couple of the free magnetized medical history cards - will keep them in our car glove compartments - and also took some of the CPR instruction cards to give to friends and neighbors.
I think we should ask our Health Department and Norwalk Hospital to hold a similar event here, perhaps in a high school gymnasium or in the community room at City Hall.

Great! I'm so glad to know others made it. And thanks for reposting the three C's.

I missed the CPR cards. If Norwalk does do one of these events, I'll look for them.

That facility is awesome. I walked in and thought, "Oh, how nice, they have an indoor field house." Then we went downstairs. "Oh neat, they have swimming pools!" Then I saw the gym with the rings and the unevens. "Wow!" As I turned around, I saw the ice hockey rink. "Unbelievable". And that was just on a casual walk through. I can't even begin to imagine what I didn't see.

One question that occurred to me later was whether or not there is a universal AED. Is it possible to encounter an AED which is completely different from the cool talking ones at the event?

I was impressed with how knowledgeable the instructors were, I asked a lot of what-ifs and they knew every answer cold.

From what I understand, the ones that are being put in the public buildings are fairly standard. The critical part is that they have instructions so that someone who is basically "untrained" can do it in an emergency. It won't be a 20 page manual with small type, that's for sure. Since time is of the essence, you gotta move fast.

@ Spoon;
Well, the AED's speak in many other languages. I don't believe that any of them would allow you to do anything out of sequence.I can't start my car even in neutral without having the clutch in. Even the most experienced operator can sometimes make a mistake, so in order to protect you and the victim,I would imagine there is something internal to cancel that out. Except of course shocking yourself via victim. The U.N. and W.H.O. has an approved AED for global use. The one in Jacmel spoke French Spanish and English. None of those I have seen required a conducting gel they all had gel pads for attachment.
The AED's microprocessor will automatically determine if the victim needs a defibrillator shock. That's the best part! Nothing beats driving 300-400 joules into somebody that's going to scream OUCH!
With proper training, nearly anyone can use these devices. AED's are very simple to operate.
The trainers were excellent weren't they!

Yes, an excellent event, now there are 5,000 people in Fairfield County who know what to do in the event of an emergency, or who got a refresher. Kudos again to all involved.

After seeing some of the posters that "claim" to have participated in this program, I think it is safe to say they have no standards as to who can and who cannot be trained...SCARY....

@ Spoon & Paige;
Interesting to be in the same place, saturday.
LOL @ Paige, your supervisor had a great sense of humor!
Spoon, I snapped off a xiphoid process once on a 55 y/o man.Successfully revived, he wanted to sue!
I think someday we will all have a an update-able microchip somewhere, EMS, Police Hospitals will be able to just scan us in.

I'd be nice if my cell would allow more info under I.C.E. ( in case of emergency ) Even a credit card style info card, swipe and read.

Maybe some people don't like all their info readily available, maybe some of those are looking at the grass from the wrong side too.

I think the only thing I haven't seen change are the leads Black and Red, always place the smoke over fire.

You're kidding, right? Was he hoping to die and mad that you saved him? How'd it turn out?

No, he wasn't hoping to die, he was dead. Just one of those sad people that would sue for cold food if they could. Legal took care of it, it never impacted on me.Over our lives our xiphoid bone become the brittle tip of the sternum not the soft flexible cartilage tip it once was. Being diagnosed with serious heart aliments and maybe being a type A guy, he was probably somewhere between denial and anger about it. So even though it wasn't expected that he'd try and sue, it's never out of the realm of possibilities. Dead is dead though, so when you sign all those admission papers and wonder why there are so many, you can partially thank mr. xiphoid.lol I guess also, that why some shampoo bottles will say for external use only and claymore's have a warning too, " do not eat ".

Wow, sounds like someone with messed up priorities. Instead of thanking you, he calls a lawyer. He wouldn't have been alive to sue if it weren't for your actions!

Sounds like something you would do...

Yeah, she punked me alright. It took MONTHS for me to live that one down. Thank God, we didn't have cell phones with video cameras back then. A video of it probably would have made it to America's Funniest Videos.

The iRescU site is actually a smart phone app, but I don't think it's available to the general public just yet. Sounds like it's a great idea.

@Paige
You must like getting "punked " as you seem to come back for more time and again.

Funny, I was there too! Great event, was hoping they'd reach their goal of 10,000 to break the world record but considering everything else that's going on during a beautiful Saturday in late summer, it's impressive that they got as many people as they did. Brought my family and we all got good practice in CPR - some were surprised at how much force it takes to get a proper chest compression. Kudos to all involved in organizing and promoting, the whole event seemed very well put together and the instructors were very knowledgeable.

What a stunning facility that is! My friend told me it was the old Clariol property.

On the way out, we went downstairs and got some really great stuff from the booths. There was one called "iRescU" which is a group that is trying to compile a database of where every AED unit is so that people can use their phone apps to dial in where they are and find the nearest unit. They are requesting people to find local AEDs, take a photo of the unit with the smart phone while using the GPS tagging if possible, and then email the photo of the AED with the location information (i.e. Aisle 17 Shoprite, Connecticut Avenue, Norwalk) to AEDupload@iRescU.info I hope lots of people read this post, check the site out and decide to help the effort.

The other cool thing I saw was that the Stamford EMS has a little plastic pocket with a magnetic strip on the back. The clear fronted plastic pocket holds a folded form that gives critical information for the EMS workers, such as name, Date of Birth, Emergency contact information, and lists a variety of chronic illnesses, (asthma, cancer, diabetes, etc.). The idea is to stick it on the refrigerator so when a crisis happens, the information is already available.

Sometimes in a crisis, you freeze. When my dad got really sick, he was taken to the hospital by EMS. I was the first family member to get there and the admission clerk asked me when his birthday was. I could tell her the year, I could tell her the month, but the actual date was beyond me. Fortunately, they had enough info to look it up in the files. So I am so happy to have this little pocket File of Life on the fridge now.

There were also some other neat things there, T-shirts about the event and such. We were only there for a half hour, but it was a very worthwhile half hour!

It was a great refresher course. I updated my techniques and learned how to use the AED.

@ Paige,
It was hectic there ! The AED has a weird voice LOL.Since 1972 the ' technique' has had to have changed 25 times ! In emergencies I know I end up with a blended technique.
The last time I actually performed CPR in public was at a dog show in Fairfield in the mid-late 70's, where you'd think a good dozen people would have ran out into the circle, nope, it was only me, until here personal physician took over insisting on One man CPR.! I'm glad so many people take classes now.
Off to the Greek Festival today, going to be a nice day for it.
Sad about Neil Armstrong,eerie seeing it is the waining new moon.

We must have been originally trained about the same time. My supervisor back then mentioned I'd need to have the CPR training to work on the unit, but they forgot to tell me when. So one morning I walked into my office and Rescu-Annie was lying on the floor. It was during the winter, still pretty dark outside and the lights weren't on in the office. It looked like someone was really lying there. Full blown panic. I almost called a code on her.

Now I have to remember the new protocol rather than the old A-B-C one. Of course, in my case, it is C-C-C-P....Contact, Call 9-1-1 (not a code), Compress.....Pray a professional arrives quickly.